Should I spend money on a personal trainer?

By Carrie Harper, ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Should I spend money on a personal trainer? Times are tough and getting tougher. We have to consider every purchase we make, every trip we take, and every "luxury" we have taken for granted. So now, let's consider this question: is your health a "luxury?"

With belts tightening everywhere, unfortunately, some folks think so. Consider this: taking care of our health guarantees fewer sick days from work, less stress, and fewer doctor bills. Better health means a better life, correct?

Now consider this. If we spend day after day and dollar after dollar, but we are not feeling more healthy and are not achieving our goals, then are we being fiscally responsible? Are we being smart with our money and our time if we are not accomplishing our goals? And do we even know what an appropriate goal is?

I think of it this way. After having my child, many things changed in my life, but I didn't expect my skin to change. I was completely confused with the amount of problems my skin gave me. As a result, I spent hundreds of dollars for over-the-counter remedies. I spent hours online trying to find out what my problem was. Finally, I contacted a professional dermatologist. And I kicked myself for spending the extra money and time, when I could have gone to the source of information in the beginning. She took one look at me and prescribed rosacea medicine. A five minute consultation and a $25 prescription later, my life was changed.

The same thing applies in fitness. A true fitness trainer has studied the body and is certified by a nationally recognized organization, or has a degree from a credible college or university. A fitness trainer can work on many levels in today's market. He or she can work at your club, come to your house, or even work over a live video messaging system. Pricing depends on your local market, and amount of sessions depends on your needs. It might take a little footwork on your part to find the right person, but the two leading national organizations can help you initially. Go to ACE Fitness or ACSM . Both organizations have a pro-finder feature to find someone in your area. After you narrow down the area, start calling and talking to the various professionals and find someone who you see yourself working with. It may be a financial investment, but an investment in your health is an investment in your life.

What about virtual trainers and DVD's? Well, these are a fun tool to keep you moving if you are already comfortable with your fitness level, or if you are not ready to take that professional step yet. BUT, that person in the screen cannot see you. He or she cannot correct your form, isolate your problem, or come up with real-world solutions for you. It is like googling an illness: you'll get possible solutions, but not the advice of a live doctor. Self-diagnoses work for some things...but definitely not all.

Taking control of your life and health is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

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Carrie Harper
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
ACE Certified Weight Management Consultant

Carrie Harper is a long time PEERtrainer member. She has been helping people with health and fitness goals since 1994, where she started teaching group exercise at The Florida State University. She is certified in personal training and in weight management consulting through the American Council on Exercise. Carrie is also a full time elementary music teacher and a full time mom. She still enjoys teaching group exercise at Family Fitness in Lake Jackson, Texas, where she works with individuals and groups with their fitness, health, and weight loss goals. Carrie also works with students and is passionate about ending the obesity crisis in today's youth. She also tackles women's health issues, including training for women with diastasis recti, or training after childbirth.

If you want to be in a PEERtrainer Team with Carrie you are welcome to join her!.